I was pleased to see the Queensland Government note, in its submission (available on the submissions page) to the Federal Senate Inquiry into Affordable Housing in Australia, that “local government must be more responsive and flexible if improved housing affordability is to be achieved.” However, I would have really liked it to have specifically identified heritage protection as a major constraint on housing supply in Brisbane. As discussed in a post by Brad Rogers (Old Queenslanders in a New City), protection of old Queenslanders in Brisbane’s older suburbs limits the population density of these suburbs, which could house a lot more people – and provide more affordable housing options – if lots containing old Queenslanders were re-developed to contain townhouses or apartment blocks.
That said, at least the Government’s submission has started a new discussion about housing supply issues in Queensland. Figures on Queensland’s low rate of home ownership contained in the Government’s submission prompted a Brisbane Times article this morning (Queensland home ownership falling) and Steve Austin’s interview of Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) President Brett Gillan this morning on 612 ABC Brisbane (Queenslanders balk at buying first home). The reported figures relate to outright home ownership, but total home ownership rates in Queensland are also relatively low – i.e. if one counts houses owned with a mortgage as well, as in the chart below from the ABS (copied from Home ownership in Local Government Areas).
Home ownership rates
Let’s hope the discussion continues and will take on the issues of heritage protection as well as the conservative attitude some Councils have towards the development of new land, whether that be due to concerns over the impacts on the environment or property prices of existing residents.